By Logan VanDine
Looking to build off last week’s back-to-back home wins, Rider wrestling embarked on a weekend road trip to take on Drexel and George Mason. After falling short against the Dragons on Feb. 3, the Broncs were able to take down the Patriots on Feb. 4 to split their road matches.
Winning streak snapped
In a rivalry dating back to 2002 with Rider entering the day with a 15-7 all-time record over the Dragons. Rider and Drexel met once again on Feb. 3. with the Broncs looking to extend their winning streak to four. In a back-and-forth match throughout the afternoon, the Broncs lost the final two bouts of the match, which proved to be the difference maker, as they fell to the Dragons 20-16.
The match started well for the Broncs with senior Quinn Kinner winning the first bout of the day by decision, followed by junior Colton Washleski winning his bout also by decision to give Rider an early 6-0 lead.
Midway through the match, momentum started to shift toward Drexel as they won three of the next four bouts that saw Rider’s lead evaporate. Afterward, junior David Szuba and senior Tyler Klinsky won the next two bouts, giving Rider a 16-14 lead.
That lead was no more with graduate student Richie Koehler and junior Will Betancourt losing the last two matches of the day, making the final score 20-16.
Head Coach John Hangey had an interesting take on what he thought went wrong for his team, saying, “You can think of the craziest things that can happen at a dual meet and write it in a script and that’s my depiction of this dual meet. It always seems like when we’re at Drexel it can happen. It’s bizarre and it happens.”
Despite the losing outcome, Hangey highlighted a few wrestlers he thought had a good day, particularly Szuba.
“I would say David stood out the most because of the way he dominated his kid, his confidence is really starting to come,” said Hangey.
Szuba also talked about his bout performance on the day, which was his 14th bout win of the season and fifth straight bonus win.
“I wrestled to the best of my ability, I was just going out there to score points. I need bonus points to at least put us back into the match, so I knew I had to get the job done,” he said.
‘Testament of their character’
After a crushing loss at the hands of Drexel one day prior, the Broncs had to quickly turn things around as they traveled to Fairfax County, Virginia, to take on George Mason.
The day could not have gone any better for the Broncs as they handled the Patriots winning 30-9 to remain at the .500 mark.
Just like in the Drexel match, Rider started out fast with Klinsky winning the first bout of the day by technical fall followed by Koehler bouncing back, winning his bout by fall to give the Broncs an instant 11-0 lead.
They would not slow down from there as they only lost three bouts on the day with Szuba finishing off the day’s action.
“They took yesterday hard on themselves and what we had to do is to make sure we didn’t let yesterday affect today,” Hangey said.
The Broncs now have nine days off before their next match.“We first need to rest up, we got a couple of minor injuries that we have to make sure we take care of and it’s just a matter of training them the right way and making sure we are trending in the right direction,” Hangey said.
The Broncs return home on Feb. 16 when they take on Clarion at 12 p.m.